Grey Matter

IN THE thick of a mass murder investigation, a home specialising in the care of Alzheimers patients exudes a distinct aura of smoke and mirrors that somehow manages to escape the notice of the police. Exactly how many secrets is it trying to hide?
Full story here.

Grey Matter is an experimental short story from M K MacInnes, only available on Scribd for now due to formatting constraints and best downloaded as a PDF on a PC. Click pic for direct link to Scribd – free to download and you don’t have to be a Scribd member to view it.

Note:

1. This is a work of pure fiction that should not be confused with real fake news.

2. Grey Matter is a WORK IN PROGRESS. Constructive feedback ever so welcome.

3. I have published it to Scribd, as having a fixed format, I have no control over how it looks in other platforms such as Amazon.

 

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2017

 

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The Reference

prayhard

A MAN applied for a job that required three telephone references. Being self-employed, identifying suitable up-to-date referees who were available for comment was not always a straightforward matter, so he asked his live-in girlfriend and former business partner Erica if she could do the honours. To this she agreed.

Three days later, Erica’s mobile phone rang. It was a man who said he was phoning in connection with Roger Duncan.

Old habits die hard. No sooner had she uttered the words “Hang on a minute” and passed the phone to her other half, Erica’s heart smacked the floor. She ran to the nearest wall and banged her head off it, before sloping out of the room and locking herself in the bathroom with every intention of shoving it down the toilet.

By the time she regained her composure and had the courage to show her face, the call had ended. The expression on Roger’s face said it all. For shame, she could not look him in the eye. Maybe if she just burst into tears, that would break the ice.

Just at that very moment, the day’s mail was pushed through the letterbox. Glad of the distraction, Erica rushed to the door to pick it up.

“Well?” barked Roger across the hallway.

No answer.

When Roger went into the hall to investigate, he found Erica bent double, clutching her stomach like she was in agony.

“What the f***?”

Even as Erica pulled herself up to look him in the face, she flapped her hands as though she was having a hot flush. Her face was raw with tears. Each time she tried to get words out of her mouth, she bubbled some more. Roger realised that his girlfriend was having a fit of hysterics.

“What’s so funny?” he bellowed, his face still dead and straight as a steel poker.

Struggling now for breath, Erica held up the brochure she had picked off the floor. Across the front in big bold letters were the words TRY PRAYING

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2016

Moby

MANY full moons ago I flew to Duluth, Minnesota, via Chicago on a business trip.

A few minutes into the return ascent out of Duluth, I looked out the window. Even in the blinding sunlight, I could make out the shape of a very large white underwater creature feeding by the side of a small lake.

At first I wondered whether it could just be a submersible but when it flicked its rudder, I was sure it was a tail. In which case it was most likely a whale. A white whale. Moby Dick to be exact.

I unfocussed my eyes, refocused, then shoved my nose back up to the glass.

Yes, no two ways about it. Until someone could prove to me otherwise, that was indeed Moby Dick.

Nine years later

IT WAS the height of summer in a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands and I was serving a visiting customer. As he happened to be the only one in the house at the time, I was not so busy that I couldn’t stop for a wee bit of banter.

He was a Canadian retired pilot and an avid storyteller. Most of his anecdotes were about flying and the kind of cultural misunderstandings that could arise between Canadians and Americans. What a hoot.

He brought up Minnesota, so I mentioned my trip to Duluth. This in turn prompted me to remember looking out of the plane window and seeing the whale.

“Nobody believed me, for some reason. Even after I found out it was probably a beluga. I guess most people, here anyway, have never heard of beluga whales. You’d have thought I was talking about a unicorn.”

The man proceeded to tell me about the mammoth water tank he had had to transport out of Chicago several years earlier. The beluga whale inside it was resident at the Zoo there. It had taken all the pilot’s flying experience just to avoid spilling the contents and afford his passenger a smooth ride.

My neurons exploded.

“Hang on a minute,” I said, “Chicago Zoo, you say?”

Wheels turned. “My God, but it was Chicago we flew out of, not Duluth. That must have been the Zoo I saw from the plane. Does it have a small natural lake in the middle of it?”

“Why, yes, I believe so.”

 “So I did see Moby Dick … I did, I did! Might even have been the same one … “Hey, what are the chances of that? Thank you so much for confirming that I am not completely insane after all.”

 “My pleasure, ma’am.”

FIN

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes

Dear Dynamo

dynamo

THE other day I had a lunch date in Edinburgh with an old friend who I had just reconnected with after many years. The first thing I saw when I got off the bus near the top of Leith Walk was a massive German Shepherd with the shaggiest coat I had ever seen.

Wow, it’s a bear! With big hair!

I couldn’t help but gape at him, imagining what it would be like to tangle my fingers in his warm inviting fur. I barely noticed the owner, I just wanted to pat the dog. He had a shiny wet nose and soft expressive eyes. Oh, and his ears looked sooo soft …

Don’t look at the dog.

I tore myself away, all warm and fuzzy inside. Even before I sang along to the half-naked man performing White Lines a few hundred yards away, I had a smile on my face and a bounce in my step.

II

I LUNCHED as planned with my old friend. We caught up, shared memories and then it was time to go. She told me a story that was even more heart-warming and magical than the sight of the walking shagpile and hard to get out of my head. As I made my way to my next destination, I still had a smile on my face and a bounce in my step.

III

APPROACHING the Christmas Fayre in the middle of St Andrew Square, I paused to work out whether to go round it or through it and spied a gaggle of people standing by the open gate. And a dog. A huge mutt that looked like a bear. My heart skipped. The German Shepherd with the Tina Turner haircut. It wasn’t the most spectacular synchronicity I had ever experienced but it sure was cute. And, if I played my cards right, I might get my wish after all.

As I passed through the entrance and readied myself to move in on the dog, I noticed a man in a hoodie who looked like he might have been the owner. Then I glanced at the guy to his right. They were both looking at a mobile phone.

Dynamo?

I thought about the magic trick I had seen on TV the week before. The one where you were in a crowd of people in London or New York or wherever and everybody’s phones rang at the same time, all from the same number. However you did that, it was so cool.

I might have been tempted to approach you and say something like how much I enjoyed your shows, but a) you were talking to someone, and b) I’m suspicious about hidden cameras – and for all I knew I had just walked in on some grand mind trick. So I marched right past, already conjuring up the next story for my blog.

Anyway, thank you, Dynamo, for the bonus plot twist. Just one thing, though, how exactly did you materialise the dog?

P.S. Good luck with the rest of your Dynamo Live Tour 2015.

 

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2015

Stranger than fiction

BOXING DAY 2014. As usual the telly is crap. Flicking through the mindless list of channels, we finally stumble across Jonathan Creek and I declare “Aha!”. Since it was once rather compelling, it is logical to think that it might still be, even if we are about to watch a repeat. However, as we become drawn into the clever weave of mystery and intrigue, it seems that it has been so long since I last saw it that it feels fresh. This one is called “The Judas Tree”.

In case you’re not familiar with Jonathan Creek, the main character is a creative consultant to an illusionist and in his spare time he solves crimes that appear to be supernatural. The bad guys are always clever illusionists themselves and it’s Jonathan’s job to figure out how they pulled off their dastardly crimes. He has had three sidekicks – this time it’s not Caroline Quentin, it’s the blonde one.

Anyway, there we are sitting in front of the TV, Alex trying to have a conversation with me while I try to keep up with the complexity of the plot. Jonathan meantime is rooting about in a darkened room, experiencing his own “Aha” moments with increasing frequency yet, like me, still scratching his head.

Earlier that day, I took Alex to task for having resorted to clipping my thigh with the back of his hand in order to get my attention. Now he is doing it again.

But this time, before I have a chance to yelp the word “Ooowwwww!”, Jonathan’s bubbly assistant Sheridan says to him, completely out of context with the rest of the dialogue, “What’s that smacking sound?”

In true Scooby Doo fashion, my jaw drops and I turn to Alex, who is looking back at me, eyes nearly popping out of his head.

All together now “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!”

“Shaggy?”

“Okay, Alex, seriously – how did you do that?”

Once the initial shock of such a freaky coincidence is over and we are both satisfied that the other hasn’t been sneaking a shifty peek on a +1 channel, we devote both our attentions to the eventual resolution of the case, convinced that if we keep our earflaps wide open, the significance of the smacking sound will be revealed. After all, it is reasonable to assume that it is a clue. We listen … and we wait ….

But the eerie part is this … when all the pennies finally drop, the smacking sound is not one of them. Those four words served no purpose whatsoever. Now I’m going to have to replay the whole damn lot to make sure it even happened.

Can two people imagine the same thing? What if the idea to start slapping my thigh had actually been planted in Alex’s head two nights before during an earlier episode of Jonathan Creek? I’m scared to google this in case I’ve just taken part in an outdated and well documented mind control experiment by the BBC! I’d hate to ruin a good story.

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes